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Showing posts from 2018

The nature of arrogance

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To believe oneself to be above average intelligence is not arrogance.
To believe oneself to be handsome is not arrogance.
To believe yourself to be the richest person in the world, if there is strong evidence, is not arrogance.

Arrogance is rejecting the truth.

If someone advises you properly about your flaws, but you refuse to listen simply because the advisor is seemingly poorer or less intelligent than you, this is arrogance.

Thinking you are definitely a better Muslim than another Muslim is arrogance. Because Allah states we do not know a person's true ranking with Him, so to proclaim otherwise is rejecting the truth.

Believing you can get away with sinning without repenting is arrogance. Common sense says otherwise, Allah states no one is guaranteed safety from the Fire, so why would you reject this truth?

To conclude, believe in yourself and your strengths - this is self-awareness. But never delude yourself into thinking you are above the truth, for this is true arrogance.

Dealing with Deceit

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Thieves stealing your money and belongings. Co-workers plotting to prevent your promotion. Political rivals spreading lies and working for your character assassination. People who try to put you down by constantly asking for your time and effort.
This world is filled with evil. Some against good countries and organizations. But there is evil which is aimed at us personally. For those who believe in the Day of Judgement, how should such evil be dealt with?
Two things to keep in mind: The three stages of preventing evil in general, and the Day of Recompense.
Muslims should be against all evil no matter who it is directed at. Ideally, the evil should be acted against. If not possible, spoken out against. If even speech is infeasible, then the Muslim should at least hate such evil.
Thus, like an Islamic nation at war with an evil state, the Muslim should prepare and fight without being excessive. Make allies, showcase your achievements, verify before trusting, and refuse unreasonable de…

It's Not a Major Sin

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Short article inspired by Omar Sulayman, a recent friday khutbah, and a friend.
Don't think about the size of the sin. Think about the One who you're disobeying.
Allah always observes you. How dare you do in front of Him what you'd be ashamed to reveal to others? Is your Lord the lowest of your observers?
How dare you disobey the One who gave you the hands and eyes you sin with? Are you not grateful? Are you not afraid He will take your life right now and punish you with a torment you can't even imagine?
As humans, it's expected to slip up and indulge in sin occasionally. Maybe even frequently. But we must regret sinning everytime we do so. The sin must cause pain in your soul.
Allah can forgive serial murderers if they repent. But your "minor sin" may cause eternal torment for you if you do not regret it.

The video I based most of this article on: https://youtu.be/i7g1t0AC72c

الناس نسيان

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The essence of man is forgetfulness. No matter how great or important a memory is, it will slowly disappear even in healthy people.
Unless the person is reminded. The antidote of forgetfulness is reminders. That is why we keep albums and photos. That is why we review before finals. That is why we use sticky notes for daily tasks. That is why it is so important to do ibadah, especially the five daily prayers and reading Quran.
Ultimately, man also forgets about Allah. All of mankind acknowledged Allah as their Lord before this world, but the majority have forgotten. Even Muslims forget from time to time. Sin and discontent result from this forgetfulness: sin comes when man forgets Allah is watching, and discontent results from forgetting Allah's promise of eternal happiness in the next life.

Thus, we constantly need to remind ourselves that Allah is indeed the Lord of everything, that He is watching, that He will judge us. Regular dhikr and ibadah are very effective at this. We sh…

Ojek & Tawakkul

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Ojek. The Indonesian term for "motorcycle taxis". Now upgraded to "ojek online". Download an app, press a button, and your two-wheeled taxi is here to take you anywhere you wish!
One of the more subtle benefits is being able to relax on the road. Driving a motorcycle is physically and mentally straining, having to constantly scan the road and manuever through traffic. On an ojek, I only have to not fall off. I even close my eyes frequently, limiting my awareness and trusting the driver to do his job. In any case, he's in complete control of the vehicle I'm on, so no use scanning the road as if I were driving. Thus, I do not get tired on the road, which helps me to be healthy and productive.
Now, why do we not trust our lives to Allah?
Most stressed people are worried about what they can't control. They think of the negative possibilities that could result, even when they can't do anything. But is it not better to have faith that our Most Generous L…

Effort & Gratitude

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A worrying mindset nowadays is how people are satisfied with the bare minimum in their religion. Just praying 5 times a day and such. I've already covered in my previous article why we should never feel safe with our current deeds, so here I will talk about two more positive aspects: effort and gratitude. 
Firstly, no one's scale of deeds is enough to enter Jannah without Allah's Mercy. Rather, it is effort that really counts. Allah says many times that the shortcomings of the believers will be forgiven and their efforts appreciated. 
On the one hand, this shows that a believer who tries his best will be granted Allah's Mercy, even if his or her actual deeds may not seem much. On the other hand, this is a warning to not slack off. One with many opportunities to do good may be questioned and perhaps punished if he doesn't take them. 
Only Allah can properly judge efforts between people. However, we know what our capacity is. So strive to please Allah with the best …

Is your level enough?

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"He prays 5 times a day in the mosque."
"She wears a very modest Islamic dress and headscarf".
"He never backbites or lies."
Never be satisfied with the deeds you do or the sins you don't! 
It could also be your deeds are diminished or not even accepted due to a critical mistake, showing off, or arrogance.
It may be that you aren't avoiding the sin completely. Like laughing at a derogatory joke, or being silent when you should've revealed the truth. And are you completely sin-free?
If you pat yourself on the back thinking you're religious, you risk incurring Allah's Wrath!
Do you really believe your deeds are enough? Do you think yourself alim just because you seem better than those around you? Know that our deeds will be judged by Allah, not by those people!
Fear you will be asked why you never sought knowledge. Fear you will be asked why you didn't apply your knowledge. Fear you will be asked why you weren't consistent in …

Entertainment That Doesn't Entertain

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Humans need timeouts. That's what entertainment is for: to reenergize and become happier through an enjoyable activity. For a good mood makes you more  active and helpful. So if some entertainment makes you lazy, it's not a good mood booster. What is this kind of entertainment except a complete waste of time?
This problem arises when the entertainment becomes addictive, such that we become depressed outside of it. This is more prevalent nowadays with the plethora of choices to "kill time".
Addictive entertainment isn't limited to a single type: it could be a tv series, console game, or social media. Even sports and reading can, in excess, cause one to neglect and/or hate their duties.
Just a side note: hobbies are a special form of entertainment which develop oneself. A good example is reading, particularly of deep topics or with complex vocabulary. Sports are also healthy hobbies. Thus, try to take up hobbies as entertainment rather than consuming mindless tv s…

Delaying my Master's & Fear of Falling

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There are a number of reasons why I chose to delay my Master's degree. Amongst them are applying for better universities and degrees, searching out my passion/talents at work, and building my experience and analytic skills.
But a huge reason is my fear of being substandard in my religion and personality. I fear the return of my previous bad habits, like hours wasted daily on entertainment and not having much taqwa. I also feel I lacked in good habits too: almost never did tahajjud, had a minimal connection to quran, and didn't follow daily/weekly routines regularly. It's not unlikely that Allah will be quite displeased with my throwing away my potential if I continue like that.
Now in Indonesia, having just left ramadhan and with my parents around, I remember Allah a lot more. I constantly lower my eyes, waste little time on entertainment, and regularly (somewhat) read and memorize the Quran. My daily routine has become much more regular, and I've returned to frequent…

Patience in Ibadah

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The Quran frequently commands us to be patient. Al-Kahf (18:28) and al-Maarij (70:5) are just two examples. But the question may arise: isn't patience just being able to wait? Like when you're waiting for a bus or someone to arrive?
Indeed, part of patience in Islam is waiting for Allah to reward you. But patience is not passivity. The prophet Yusuf ran away from his master's seducing wife. Hajar ran between Safa and Marwah looking for water. Both were patient, but they did what they needed. This is especially true for patience in ibadah.
I recently heard a scholar talk about three types of patience, summarized as: maksiat, musibah, and ibadah. The first is about avoiding sin. The second is guarding your iman during difficult times. But the third- related to ibadah/worship- is the most important. For ibadah is done multiple times everyday, so patience in it is the most frequently tested.
Patience in ibadah can be further divided into "do it" and "while doi…

Gaming & Patience

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For the past year and a half, I've been playing World of Tanks Blitz. Battle 7 vs 7 online in a wide range of tanks, with a variety of skill levels too. There's a lot I've learnt from playing this.
First and foremost is patience. It is absolutely essential in this game. In fact, there are three types of patience here: waiting instead of rushing, accepting what is past and focusing on what's next, and dealing with pressure from insolent people. 
Often players often want to push forward as fast as possible or try to take risky shots which end up killing them instead. However, the best players play very conservatively, only plunging in after a ton of waiting and/or moving and maximizing their chances of winning. While I'm no master, I also learnt to wait for the right opportunity and do the boring yet necessary preparations.
The second type of patience comes into play when the stupidity of my team or perhaps even luck costs the game. I had to learn how to accept the…

Prerequisites to Pleasure in Prayer

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*TL;DR*
Does Salat feel like a chore? It shouldn't. You have to do it anyways, so better make it pleasant. Like it should be.
*End TL;DR*

(1 min reading)
The beginning of surah mu'minun gives a list of attributes of, well, mu'minun. True believers.

The first is khusyu' in prayer. And honestly, i don't consistently focus in prayer.

But this morning I realized that the list is like a set of steps. You can't skip a step while going up.

Guarding the prayer is the last in the list. It's also the easiest. Above it is guarding promises/trust, then guarding private parts, then zakat.

I think Allah is implying that one who doesn't guard the prayer will struggle to keep promises. And one who doesn't guard their privates may be disinclined to pay zakat.

The ayat after khusyu' is about avoiding laghw'- useless activities and speech. This means that if one doesn't avoid time wasters, khusyu' in prayer will be difficult.

Now in case someone asks why khusyu&…

Nice Lies

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An old woman got on a train and all seats were full. An old man got up and asked her to sit down. She refused at first, but the man finally convinced her by saying "Bineceğim" -I'm going to get off. When the train reached the next stop, he didn't get off.
It was then I thought, "This old man lied. A nice lie, but a lie nonetheless".
He did get off at the stop after that. But it did make me consider: Are nice lies good?
Nice lies aren't necessarily lies by their wording alone. To elaborate, this old man did get off, so he didn't exactly lie. However, in a context where everyone would leave the train at some point, he implied he would be getting off so soon such that a seat was unnecessary for him. Thus, nice lies can be implicit while the explicit wording is true.
Furthermore, nice lies must aim to help or please someone else. For example, if a socially weak person is wrongly accused, a more respected individual may take the blame to prevent the for…

Would you have believed if...?

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A small thought.
If there was no veil between humans and Allah (and the rest of the unseen), wouldn't more humans believe and submit to Allah? Wouldn't that be better than having a large proportion of humans punished due to disbelief in the unseen?
Not really. Remember that the devil disobeyed Allah.
Not knowing everything is actually a mercy for humans. It allows sinners and wrongdoers room for repentance and return to faith. For if people could see Allah directly, only immediate condemnation would be fair - there would be no room for forgiveness in lapses and sin. Thus, one reason Allah placed the veil seems to be allowing us to turn to Him.
If humans were to see the Ghayb, would they all be pious? Allah knows best. Perhaps even more would be headed for Hell.

Focused Thinking

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Ever feel like you can’t concentrate? Like the stuff you gotta do seems too much work? Even though your body seems fine? Perhaps you’re lacking mental energy. You see, our brain is just like any part of the body- it can become tired if overworked and not given rest. So when you do anything that requires thinking- which is probably most of your tasks- then you spend mental energy. Switching between tasks uses up mental energy, like pushing a trolley- takes a lot to get started, quite easy to maintain speed. When switching tasks, you mentally lay out your new task. When you switch tasks every 5 minutes, you burn all your energy and time just prepping for the next task instead of doing anything! This also applies to thought switching. When your mind is like “I gotta do my English homework about literature. Hmm… in that anime, what was the Main Character’s backstory again? And what was on my Wattpad list… oh yeah, that fanfiction about cooking. I wonder how to make some trileçe cake?”, then …

Hide Your Sins: You're Setting an Example

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Others follow your actions, realize it or not. When you chatter in class, your friends will feel like talking and ignoring the boring teacher. When you study hard and get high marks, these same friends will feel like becoming serious too. 
So keep your sins under wraps. No human is an angel, but don't show off your mistakes either. A bad reputation doesn't only hurt you- it influences those around you to follow your mistakes too.
Allah covers your sins up to a point. There's the story of a thief who was caught and brought to Umar RA. The thief claimed this was his first time and should be forgiven, but Umar RA didn't believe him and said Allah doesn't expose first-time sinners. And he was right- the thief admitted later he had already stolen 20 times. So when we sin occasionally, worry about repenting more than being exposed.
Things are different, however, if you expose your sin when Allah has already covered it for you. With social media and our innate desire for…